Passover | Candied orange and lemon make sponge cake a keeper

Passover brings the same challenge each year — especially for the baker. How do you make an array of delicious desserts without using any flour (or any other leavening ingredients, for that matter)? This task is additionally complicated by the fact that dairy is often off limits, too.

So when I find a recipe that works — and one that my family agrees is a “keeper” — I tend to bring it back year after year. This sponge cake is no exception. Moist and deeply flavorful, this dessert keeps for days. The easy addition of candied orange and lemon slices puts a new twist on a classic recipe, not to mention a beautiful presentation.

Lemon Sponge Cake with Candied Citrus

Lemon Sponge Cake with Candied Citrus

For the cake

2 tsp. vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray

potato starch (for dusting cake pan)

8 extra-large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup orange juice

juice of 1 large lemon

1 tsp. each freshly grated orange and lemon zest

11⁄2 tsp. vanilla

1⁄2 tsp. almond extract (optional)

1⁄2 cup matzah cake meal

3⁄4 cup potato starch

1⁄4 tsp. salt

For the candied citrus slices

1 large orange, cut into 1⁄8-inch thick slices

1 large lemon (or 2 small), cut into 1⁄8-inch thick slices

1-2 cups sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with the oil or cooking spray; dust with potato starch.

Beat the egg yolks in an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and beat for 3 more minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the juices and zests, followed by both extracts. With mixer turned off, sift the cake meal and potato starch over the top. Mix till just blended and transfer batter to a large bowl. Clean and dry the mixer bowl.

Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and beat till the whites hold glossy peaks. Gently fold into the cake batter and pour into your prepared pan.

Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack, then loosen the sides to let cool completely.

While cake is baking, prepare the citrus slices: Place slices in a saucepan with enough equal parts sugar and water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook till sugar dissolves. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let slices cool in the syrup. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to dry. Arrange slices atop cake just prior to serving. n

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